Everyone knows that smoking cigarettes isn’t good for you. It’s an expensive habit. It injures your health. And it’s one of the toughest addictions to quit. So it’s no surprise that many people who smoke on a daily basis think they can’t get life insurance for smokers. Fortunately, nothing could be further from the truth.
Here’s the good news: if you’re a smoker, you can definitely get life insurance. Even if you have other health risks besides smoking, you can still qualify for as much as $50,000 in life insurance by finding the right carrier. The bad news is that life insurance for smokers will cost more.
Why do smokers get charged higher premiums than nonsmokers? Because smoking significantly increases the risk of death, which is the #1 determining factor when insurers set policy premiums. Furthermore, smoking has been proven to increase the risk of other ailments that can also increase the risk of death. So when it comes to buying life insurance for smokers, be prepared to pay more.
Smoking And the Life Insurance Application Process
If you smoke cigarettes, you will be required to do two things during the application process: answer questions about your tobacco use and take a medical exam. In addition to cigarettes, the insurance company may also ask about cigars, e-cigarettes/vaping, chewing or dipping tobacco, nicotine gum and marijuana.
The medical exam use urinalysis to screen for nicotine and cotinine, which is an alkaloid used to measure exposure to tobacco smoke.
The test can tell whether you’re a regular smoker or if you recently quit. However, it can’t determine how the nicotine got into your system. For that reason, insurance companies are likely to classify you as a smoker if you have an occasional cigar or even if you’re using a patch or nicotine gum to quit smoking. You can get a policy without taking the medical exam, but it will limit the amount of coverage you can get and your premiums will cost more.
It’s important to be honest about your smoking habit for several reasons. It’s illegal to lie on the application. If the insurance company determines you provided false information, can legally cancel your policy. Also, they will find out anyway through the medical exam, which tests for substances that can take days or weeks to leave your system. Telling the truth about your nicotine usage can also help prevent you from being misclassified, which can lead to higher premiums.
Lowering Your Life Insurance Costs
When seeking life insurance for smokers, the trick is getting coverage you can afford. Making a few simple changes can help reduce the cost of your premiums.
- Take control of your health. Start by eating to eat better; not going on a fad diet to lose weight, but making long-term changes in the kind of food you put into your body and how much. This doesn’t mean you can’t ever splurge on an ice cream sundae or a bug juicy hamburger, but practice moderation when you do. Exercise on a regular basis, and If you’re significantly overweight, drop some pounds gradually and sensibly.
- Stop smoking. Well, duh! Nobody says it’s easy, but quitting smoking can cut your premiums in half. It will also improve your overall health, which can lead to further savings. To offer nonsmoker rates, most insurance carriers require at least a year of being smoke-free.
- Don’t use marijuana. Although marijuana usage is now legal in many states, most life insurance companies don’t look upon it in a favorable light, even when used for medical purposes. Some carriers will automatically disqualify applicants for marijuana use. Others will still write a policy, but it will cost more.
If your life insurance provider assigns you to the "smoker" or "tobacco user" risk class, don’t despair. Quitting smoking and improving your health may qualify you for a re-evaluation that can lead to lower premiums.
If you have never smoked cigarettes before, don’t start now. Starting after you get a life insurance policy may not affect your current premiums, but it will affect your health. If you have a term life policy and decide to renew it when the term expires, the carrier may require another medical exam. Any signs of smoking will definitely lead to higher premiums.
Either way, always shop around before buying a policy because underwriting requirements for smokers can vary significantly depending on the carrier. Getting multiple quotes from different life insurance firms allows you to compare their pricing and policies to get the best deal.
Finding the Right Policy for You
If you’re looking for life insurance for smokers, IntelliQuote’s online marketplace makes it easy to get quotes from top-rated insurance carriers. Our licensed agents can also discuss your options as a smoker and steer you in the direction of insurance carriers that offer affordable premiums for smokers. Call or visit our web site today!